NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi suspended his Gujarat poll campaign and rushed to Rae Bareli to visit the victims of NTPC plant blast as mother Sonia Gandhi, who represents the parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha, is unwell.
Moreover, Rahul, who represents the neighbouring Amethi parliamentary constituency, did not want to give the BJP a chance to criticise the family if he had skipped Rae Bareli, said party sources.
As news of the NTPC plant blast, in which 18 persons died, reached Rahul, he decided to go, said a source explaining that though suspending the Gujarat campaign by half a day did upset some plans, visiting the victims was far more important for the Congress vice president both personally and politically.
Politically a turf war is on between Rahul, who has been attacking PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah during his recent Gujarat campaigns, and the saffron party leadership which does not want to miss any chance to slam the Gandhis.
Last month, as Rahul questioned abnormal profits of Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah, the BJP chief staged a rally in Amethi on October 10 charging the Gandhis of neglecting the area. Days before that, Rahul had been advised by the local administration to postpone his visit from October 4 to 6. However he went ahead with the plan saying Amethi was like his second home.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) November 2, 2017
Sonia, who was discharged from hospital last week, has been advised rest. For health reasons, she was forced to skip the early morning ceremony to pay tributes to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31. “I wanted to be present there to share the grief of those affected by the tragedy but it is sad that I can’t do so because of health reasons. I empathy for the victims,” Sonia said in a statement.
Rahul visited the victims being treated at the government hospital and met with the families of those who died in the blast.
“It was sad to see the victims, they should get proper treatment. The dependents of those dead should get better compensation and government jobs,” Rahul tweeted.
“Workers have demanded that laxity behind the incident must be probed and the guilt punished,” he said.
He resumed the Gujarat campaign later in the day.